Cognitive enhancements

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Cognitive enhancements can be defined as any effect which intensifies or enhances a facet of one's cognition.

This page lists and describes the various cognitive enhancements which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Agression

Main article: Agression

Agression

Analysis enhancement

Main article: Analysis enhancement

Analysis enhancement can be described as a perceived enhancement of one's overall ability to process information and logically or creatively analyse concepts, ideas and scenarios. The experience of this effect can lead to deep and complex states of contemplation which often results in an abundance of new and insightful ideas. This can give the person a perceived ability to analyze concepts and problems in a manner which allows them to gain inspiration or reach new conclusions, perspectives, and solutions which would have been otherwise difficult to conceive of.

This effect is consistently triggered in a mild form by substances such as stimulants and nootropics. However, psychedelics in particular often manifest this effect in an extremely distinct form that synergizes with accompanying effects such as personal bias suppression in a manner which results in a deeply therapeutic and introspective state. This can result in newfound logical resolutions and personal acceptance regarding past events, the present situation, future possibilities, insecurities, fears, hopes, goals, struggles, and traumas. The experience of this state is extremely efficient at facilitating therapeutic self-improvement and positive personal growth on a level that remains largely unparalleled by that of everyday sober living.

In other cases, psychedelic analysis enhancement can lead into states which are not introspective but instead result in a deep analysis of the exterior world, both as a whole and as the things which comprise it. This can result in a perceived abundance of insightful ideas and conclusions with powerful themes pertaining to what is often described as "the bigger picture". These ideas generally involve (but are not limited to) insight into philosophy, science, spirituality, society, culture, universal progress, humanity, loved ones, the finite nature of our lives, history, the present moment and future possibilities.

Anxiety

Main article: Anxiety

Anxiety can be described as negative feelings of psychological tension and general unease. These feelings can range from subtle and ignorable to intense and overwhelming enough to trigger panic attacks and feelings of impending doom. This is often accompanied by nervous behavior such as rumination, complaints, restlessness, and muscular tension. As an emotion it is considered as distinct from fear in that feelings of anxiety are usually an overreaction to a situation that is not realistically dangerous.

In regards to psychoactive substance usage, anxiety can be caused as an inescapable effect of the drug itself, by a lack of experience with the substance, or by the experience of negative hallucinations. It is extremely common to experience this effect under the influence of cannabinoids, stimulant comedowns and hallucinogens such as LSD or salvia divinorum.

Panic attacks

Panic attacks are periods of extremely intense anxiety that have a sudden onset[1] and a variable duration.[2] These usually begin abruptly and may reach their peak within 10 to 20 minutes, but may also continue for hours in extreme cases before subsiding on their own. Although this experience is incredibly stressful it is important to note that it is not physically dangerous or harmful.

The various cognitive and physical symptoms of a panic attack are described and listed below:

  • Hyperventilation - Hyperventilation occurs when one breathes deeper and more rapidly than usual. When hyperventilating, one may feel as though they are struggling to get enough air. As this causes a decrease of carbon dioxide in the blood, it may result in lightheadedness, a rapid heartbeat, chest pain, or a tingling sensation in one's limbs.[3]
  • Abnormal heart rate and palpitations - Due to the release of stress hormones, one may experience heart symptoms including missed beats, palpitations, chest pain, and an accelerated heart rate.
  • Tactile suppression - This can be described as a loss of sensation as well as numbness and tingling sensations throughout the body. It may feel as if one's skin or body parts are numb to the touch, and this can occur in a small area or become all-encompassing throughout multiple body parts or the entire body. Numbness most frequently occurs within the hands, legs, arms, feet, and face. This effect is often accompanied by a pins and needle sensation and it generally increases alongside of hyperventilation.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Bodily pressures
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Derealization
  • Depersonalization
  • Fear of losing control or going insane
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Delusions

Creativity enhancement

Creativity enhancement can be described as a perceived increase in one's capabilities to perform tasks which involve either the production of creative output or complex problem-solving skills. This component is particularly useful to artists of any sort as it can help remove a creative block and generally increase one's inspiration. The experience of this effect is often amplified and maintained by other accompanying cognitive effects such as thought connectivity, motivation enhancement, personal bias suppression, analysis enhancement and thought acceleration.

A well-known example of psychedelic creativity enhancement comes from the Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Kary Mullis, who invented a method for copying DNA segments known as the PCR is quoted as saying: "Would I have invented PCR if I hadn't taken LSD? I seriously doubt it. I could sit on a DNA molecule and watch the polymers go by. I learned that partly on psychedelic drugs".[4]

This effect is primarily induced by hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, psilocin, and cannabis, but it can also occur on stimulants and other substances.

Dream potentiation

Main article: Dream potentiation

Dream potentiation can be described as a cognitive component which increases the intensity, vividness and frequency of sleeping dream states. This effect also results in dreams having a higher level of detail and definition alongside a greatly increased likelihood of them becoming lucid.

The experience of this effect can be the result of a class of drugs called oneirogens which is a class of hallucinogen that is used to specifically potentiate dreams when taken before sleep. However, it can also be a residual effect from an extremely wide variety of substances or a relatively persistent effect that has arisen as a symptom of hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

Ego inflation

Main article: Ego inflation

Ego inflation can be described as an effect that magnifies and enhances one's own ego in a manner which results in feeling an increased sense of confidence, superiority, and general arrogance. During this state, it can often feel that one is considerably more intelligent, significant, and capable in comparison to those around them.

At lower levels, this experience can result in an enhanced ability to handle social situations due to an improved sense of confidence. However, at higher levels, it can result in a reduced ability to handle social situations due to behavioral traits that may come across as distinctly obnoxious, narcissistic, and selfish to other people. In extreme cases, this effect can sometimes synergize with other coinciding effects such as irritability, disinhibition, and paranoia in a manner which can lead to lead to destructive behaviors, violent tendencies, and even delusions of grandiosity.

This effect is commonly triggered by substances within the stimulant family, particularly dopaminergic stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. However, it may also occur under the influence of other compounds such as alcohol and PCP. It is worth noting that regular and repeated exposure to this effect through the use of these substances can leave certain individuals with persistent behavioral traits of ego inflation within their day to day life, even when they are completely sober.

Emotionality enhancement

Emotionality enhancement can be described as an effect which greatly amplifies and enhances one's current emotional state beyond normal levels.

Unlike many other subjective effects such as euphoria or anxiety this effect does not consistently induce specific emotions regardless of a person's current state of mind and mental stability. Instead, it works by amplifying and enhancing the genuine emotions that a person is already feeling prior to ingesting the drug. This causes the effects to be equally capable of manifesting in both a positive and negative direction.

For example, an individual who is currently feeling somewhat anxious or emotionally unstable may become overwhelmed with intensified negative emotions, paranoia, and confusion. In contrast, an individual who is generally feeling positive and emotionally stable is more likely to find themselves overwhelmed with states of emotional euphoria, happiness, and feelings of general contentment.

This effect is commonly triggered by psychedelic compounds such as LSD, psilocin, and mescaline. However, it can occassionally occur under the influence of other compounds such as cannabis and stimulant entactogens.

Empathy, affection, and sociability enhancement

Empathy, affection, and sociability enhancement can be described as the experience of a perspective which is dominated by intense feelings of compassion, talkativeness, and happiness. The experience of this effect creates a wide range of subjective changes to a person's perception of their feelings towards other people and themselves. These are described and documented in the list below:

  • Increased sociability and the feeling that communication is easier and more natural.
  • Increased urge to communicate or express one's affectionate feelings towards others, even if they happen to be strangers.
  • Increased feelings of empathy, love, and connection with others.
  • Increased motivation to resolve social conflicts and improve interpersonal relationships.
  • Decreased negative emotions and mental states such as stress, anxiety, fear, and paranoia.
  • Decreased insecurity, defensiveness, and fear of emotional injury or lack of acceptance from others.
  • Decreased irritability, aggression, anger, and jealousy.

The experience of this effect is often amplified and maintained by other accompanying cognitive effects such as stimulation, motivation enhancement, personal bias suppression, and thought acceleration. It is primarily induced by substances of the entactogen class, with MDMA being the archetypal example. However, it is also induced by other compounds such as 6-APB, 4-FA, 2C-B, AMT, and MDAI.

Focus enhancement

Main article: Focus enhancement

Focus enhancement can be described as the experience of an increased ability to selectively concentrate on an aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. It can be best characterized by feelings of intense concentration which can allow one to focus on and perform tasks which would otherwise be considered too monotonous, boring, or dull to not get distracted from. This will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as motivation enhancement, thought acceleration, and stimulation.

Focus enhancement is an extremely common effect under the influence of many stimulant or nootropic substances such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, modafinil, and caffeine. However, it is worth noting that the same compounds which induce this mindstate at light to moderate dosages will also result in the opposite effect of focus suppression at heavier dosages.

Immersion enhancement

Main article: Immersion enhancement

Immersion enhancement can be described as an effect which results in a pronounced increase in one's tendency to become fully captivated or engrossed by external stimuli such as film, tv-shows, video games, and various other forms of media. This greatly increases one's suspension of disbelief, suppresses one's memory of the "outside world", and allows one to become engaged on a level that is largely unattainable during everyday sober living.

At its highest point of intensity, immersion enhancement can reach a level in which the person can begin to truly believe that the media they are consuming is a real life event which is actually happening in front of them. This is likely a result of the effect synergizing with other accompanying components such as internal or external hallucinations, delusions, and suggestibility enhancement. Whether or not this experience is enjoyable can differ drastically depending on various factors such as the emotional tone and familiarity of what is being perceived.

Immersion enhancement is an extremely common effect under the influence of almost any hallucinogenic substance but it is considerably more prominent and consistent with dissociatives and deliriants in comparison to psychedelics and cannabinoids.

Increased music appreciation

Increased music appreciation can be described as an increased enjoyment of music. When music is listened to within this state, the perceived music and lyrical content may have a profound impact upon its listener.

This experience can give one a sense of hyper-awareness of every sound, lyric, melody and complex layer of noise within a song in addition to an enhanced ability to individually comprehend its multiple layers of noise. The perceived emotional intent of the musician and the meaning of the music may also be felt in a greater level clarity than that which is attainable during everyday sober living. During particularly enjoyable songs, this effect can result in feelings of overwhelming euphoria and general appreciation that can leave the user with a deep sense of connection towards the artist they are listening to.

Although this component is commonly mistaken as a purely auditory effect, it is more likely the result of several coinciding components such as novelty enhancement, personal meaning enhancement, emotionality enhancement, and auditory enhancement.

Increased music appreciation is an extremely common effect under the many different classes of psychoactive substance. These can include psychedelics, dissociatives, stimulants, and cannabinoids.

Increased sense of humor

Increased sense of humor can be described as a general enhancement in the intensity of one's response to humorous or amusing stimuli. During this state, one's sensitivity to finding things funny can be noticeably amplified, this is often to the point that one can begin uncontrollably laughing at trivial things without any discernible reason or apparent cause.

In group settings, the experience of witnessing someone laughing in enjoyment for no apparent reason can itself become a contagious trigger which induces semi-uncontrollable laughter within the people around them. In extreme cases, this can often form a lengthy feedback loop in which people begins to laugh hysterically at the absurdity of not being able to stop laughing.

This effect is commonly triggered by hallucinogenic compounds such as nitrous oxide, LSD, psilocin, and cannabis.

Irritability

Main article: Irritability

Irritability can be described as a cognitive effect which results in heightened feelings of stress, irritability, annoyance, and anger. These feelings are often further intensified by other accompanying effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and ego inflation.

This effect can sometimes result in a certain subset of people presenting a greater tendency towards exhibiting violent behaviors. However, the chances of somebody responding in such a way depends on the individual and differs wildly between people. It is also worth noting that an increased propensity towards violence typically only affects those who were already susceptible to aggressive behaviors.

Irritability enhancement most commonly occurs during the offset of heavy dosages of stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. It has also been known to occur under the influence of alcohol.[5]

Memory enhancement

Main article: Memory enhancement

Memory enhancement can be described as an effect which results in an improved ability to recall and retain memories. The experience of this effect can make it significantly easier for a person to access past memories and recall them at a greater level of detail compared to their sober state. It can also help one retain new information that may then be more easily recalled once the person is no longer under the influence of the psychoactive substance.

Memory enhancement most commonly occurs under the influence of mild or common dosages of stimulants and nootropics such as caffeine, amphetamine, and modafinil.

Motivation enhancement

Motivation enhancement can be described as an increased desire to perform tasks and accomplish goals in a productive manner. It can be best characterized as an increased desire to perform tasks, including those that would normally be considered too monotonous or overwhelming to fully commit oneself to.

This effect will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as focus enhancement, thought acceleration, and stimulation in a manner which further increases one's productivity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of stimulant or nootropic compounds such as amphetamine, caffeine, and modafinil. However, it may also occur more inconsistently with many other classes of psychoactive substance such as certain hallucinogens, opioids, and GABAergics.

Novelty enhancement

Main article: Novelty enhancement

Novelty enhancement can be described as feelings of increased fascination and appreciation attributed to specific parts or the entirety of one's external environment. This can result in an often overwhelming impression that everyday concepts such as nature, existence, common events, and even house hold objects are now considerably more profound, interesting, and important.

The experience of this effect commonly forces those who undergo it to acknowledge, consider, and appreciate the things around them in a level of detail and intensity which remains largely unparalleled throughout every day sobriety. It is often generally described using phrases such as a "child-like sense of wonder" or "seeing the world through fresh eyes".

Novelty enhancement will often synergize with other coinciding effects, such as personal bias suppression and emotionality enhancement, in a manner which further increases the intensity of the experience. It is most commonly induced under the influence of psychedelic compounds such as LSD, psilocin, and DMT. However, it can also occur less consistently and in a milder form under the influence of cannabinoids, dissociatives, and entactogens.

Personal meaning enhancement

Personal meaning enhancement can be described as a considerably increased sense of personal significance becoming attributed to external stimuli, innocuous situations, and coincidences. For example, one may feel the lyrics of a song or events in a film relate to their life in a meaningful and distinct manner that is not usually felt during everyday sobriety. This feeling can continue to occur even when it is rationally understood that the external stimuli does not genuinely relate to the person experiencing it in such a direct manner.

At its highest level, this effect will often synergize with delusions in a manner which can result in one genuinely believing that innocuous events are directly related to them. For example, one may begin to believe that the plot of a film is about their life or that a song was written for them. This phenomenon is well established within psychology and is commonly known as a "delusion of reference."[6][7]

Stamina enhancement

Main article: Stamina enhancement

Stamina enhancement can be described as an increase in one's ability to engage in physically and mentally taxing activities without the development of fatigue. Although this effect is commonly mistaken for stimulation, it differs as it is not a direct increase in one's energy levels. Instead, it is an increase in one's resilience in performing an activity and a mitigation of general fatigue.

Psychoactive substances that directly increase one's endurance without stimulation are known as actoprotectors. These are are defined as "substances that enhance body stability against physical or mental loads without increasing oxygen consumption or heat production."[8]

Suggestibility enhancement

Suggestibility enhancement can be described as an increased tendency to accept and act on the suggestions of others. A common example of suggestibility enhancement would be a trip sitter deliberately making a person believe a false statement without question simply by telling it to them as true, even if the statement would usually be easily recognizable as impossible or absurd. If this is successfully accomplished, it can potentially result in the experience of relevant accompanying hallucinations and delusions which further solidify the belief which has been suggested to them.

This effect commonly occurs at heavy dosages under the influence of almost any hallucinogen, particularly for users who are inexperienced or currently undergoing delusions and memory suppression. It has been studied extensively by the scientific literature and has a relatively large body of data confirming its presence across multiple hallucinogens. These include LSD[9][10], mescaline[11], cannabis[12], ketamine[13], and nitrous oxide[14]. However, anecdotal reports suggest that it may also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of GABAergic substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Suggestibility enhancement

Suggestibility enhancement can be described as an increased tendency to accept and act on the suggestions of others. A common example of suggestibility enhancement would be a trip sitter deliberately making a person believe a false statement without question simply by telling it to them as true, even if the statement would usually be easily recognizable as impossible or absurd. If this is successfully accomplished, it can potentially result in the experience of relevant accompanying hallucinations and delusions which further solidify the belief which has been suggested to them.

This effect commonly occurs at heavy dosages under the influence of almost any hallucinogen, particularly for users who are inexperienced or currently undergoing delusions and memory suppression. It has been studied extensively by the scientific literature and has a relatively large body of data confirming its presence across multiple hallucinogens. These include LSD[15][16], mescaline[17], cannabis[18], ketamine[19], and nitrous oxide[20]. However, anecdotal reports suggest that it may also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of GABAergic substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Thought acceleration

Main article: Thought acceleration

Thought acceleration can be described as the mental process of thought being sped up significantly in comparison to that of normal sobriety. When experiencing this effect, it will often feel as if one rapid fire thought after the other is being generated in incredibly quick succession.

Thought acceleration will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement and stimulation in a manner which not only increases the speed of thought, but also signifigantly enhances the sharpness of a person's mental clarity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of stimulant or nootropic compounds such as amphetamine, caffeine, and modafinil. However, it may also occur under the influence of many stimulating psychedelics such as certain LSD, 2C-B and mescaline.

Thought connectivity

Main article: Thought connectivity

Thought connectivity can be described as an alteration of a person's thought stream characterized by a distinct increase in wandering thoughts which connect into each other through a fluid association of ideas. Thoughts may be subjectively experienced as a continuous stream of vaguely related ideas which tenuously connect into each other by incorporating a concept that was contained within the previous thought. When experienced, it is often likened to a complex game of word association.

During this state, it is often difficult to consciously guide the direction of ones thoughts. This may result in one's train of thought contemplating an extremely broad variety of subjects, which range from important, trivial, insightful, and nonsensical topics.

Thought connectivity is most commonly induced under the influence of psychedelic compounds such as LSD, DMT, and psilocin. However, it may also occur under the influence of many cannabinoids and stimulants.

Thought organization

Main article: Thought organization

Thought organization can be described as a state of cognitive enhancement in which one's ability to analyze, vocalize and categorize conceptual information using a fluid, linear and logical order is increased. Thought organization allows more conscious control over the direction of one's thoughts by reducing erratic and irrelevant thoughts, thus improving one's capacity for cohesive thought patterns that rely less on free association and more on logical progression.

The experience of this component results in thoughts and ideas becoming manifested, organized and processed by their degree of significance to preceding concepts in a way that is more intelligible and easy to understand.

Wakefulness

Main article: Wakefulness

Wakefulness can be described as a decreased desire to sleep and an increased propensity to stay conscious without feeling tired. It is contrasted with stimulation in that it does not increase energy levels but instead decreases the propensity of tired, clouded, and sleep prone behavior. This effect leads to increased levels of motivation and drive to perform tasks due to an inhibition of the desire to sleep. Drugs with this specific mode of action, such as modafinil and noopept are referred to as eugeroics, the opposite of hypnotics.

See also

References

  1. http://m-w.com/dictionary/panic%20attack | Panic attack - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  2. Panic disorder | http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000924.htm
  3. Hyperventilation | http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hyperventilation-topic-overview
  4. Hongbao, Ma. "Development application of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)." J. Am. Sci 1.3 (2005): 4-5. | http://www.sciencepub.net/american/0103/01-0198-%20mahongbao-am.pdf
  5. People Who Suppress Anger Become Violent When Drunk (livescience.com) | https://www.livescience.com/6640-people-suppress-anger-violent-drunk.html
  6. Understanding delusions (PubMed) (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21234155
  7. Ideas of Reference | Encyclopedia of Psychology (PsychCentral) | http://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/ideas-of-reference/
  8. The Pharmacology of Actoprotectors: Practical Application for Improvement of Mental and Physical Performance (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762282/?report=classic
  9. The effects of psychotomimetic drugs on primary suggestibility | http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00407857#page-1
  10. LSD enhances suggestibility in healthy volunteers (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25242255
  11. The effects of psychotomimetic drugs on primary suggestibility | http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00407857#page-1
  12. Effects of cannabis intoxication on primary suggestibility | http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00431853#page-1
  13. Brief report: the effect of suggestion on unpleasant dreams induced by ketamine administration (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21346162
  14. Enhancement of suggestibility and imaginative ability with nitrous oxide (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19057896
  15. The effects of psychotomimetic drugs on primary suggestibility | http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00407857#page-1
  16. LSD enhances suggestibility in healthy volunteers (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25242255
  17. The effects of psychotomimetic drugs on primary suggestibility | http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00407857#page-1
  18. Effects of cannabis intoxication on primary suggestibility | http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00431853#page-1
  19. Brief report: the effect of suggestion on unpleasant dreams induced by ketamine administration (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21346162
  20. Enhancement of suggestibility and imaginative ability with nitrous oxide (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19057896